February 28th, 2013 | Posted in Game Takes
By: D'Arcy McGrath
In Minnesota the Flames had a good first, a flaky second, a better third, and late collapse to see a 1-0 lead turn into an overtime loss. They wouldn’t let that happen again right>
Guess again. This time the pain goes a little deeper, as the Flames blow 3-0 and 4-2 period leads to completely pancake the third period and give the Avalanche a 5-4 win on a night marred in drama due to the two teams being embroiled in an interesting offer sheet drama.
On The Line
Such a huge game in a shortened season. The Flames blew a lead in Minnesota and lost in overtime on a Mark Giordano gaff of covering the puck, they can’t erase that. However, a win in Colorado gives the team a 1-0-1 road trip and points in four straight games. In a tight NHL, that “points in x straight games” roll can move a team up the playoffs quickly.
The Flames jumped all over the Avalanche with the Ryan O’Reilly anger hanging in the air. Lots of chances, lots of traffic, and a great overall push. But don’t hold your breath the same thing happened in Minnesota right? It did, but this this they score three instead of one and take a commanding lead after one on goals by Bouwmeester, Cammalleri and Iginla.
The second was destined for push back by the Avalanche and that’s exactly what we saw. Great forecheck, some bobbled pucks in the Flames zone, and powerplay resulting in not one but two straight goals from the home side making it a one game relatively early in the period. But hold the phone, the Flames don’t collapse, and instead Jarome Iginla follows up his own rebound and pounds home his 5th of the season on a powerplay to give his club a 4-2 lead after two.
The Flames play simply one of their worst periods on the season as a Landeskog undressing of T.J. Brodie rips the wind from the visitor’s sails leaving them reeling for the period. The two goal lead evaporates into a 5-4 deficit leaving many a Calgary Sportsnet viewer shaking their heads.
1. Gabriel Landeskog: First game back after missing 11 games and the captain scores once early in the third and adds two assists. Dominant player.
2. Jiri Hudler: Guy must love playing against the Avalanche, three assists on the night and some of that great calm that he’s displayed in the offensive zone.
3. Matt Duchene: Early assist and a late game winner after a quiet start for the Avalanche’s most dangerous player.
With the captain fresh off the minting of his second goal Iginla was set up again for a one timer that had Varlamov slide quickly from post to post to deflect into the crowd. Good save, and even better to see Iginla moving into his shooting groove again. Bodes well.
Easy one to pick out tonight; Bordeleau skated 50 feet to smoke Alui into the side boards near the hash marks in the Flames zone. The penalty garnered a minor since his elbow was up. Oh and they scored on the powerplay!
The Flames? Who do you blame for a full team collapse that blows a three goal lead? All of them? The captain? Veterans? The coach? The cultures? The water in Calgary?
Jarome Iginla. His two goal performance was vintage Jarome Iginla and probably his most recognizable offensive game of the season. Bumped from the three star selection by a late Avalanche come back.
Odds and Ends
Quite a day in Flames hockey with the McGrattan trade, then the O’Reilly offer sheet and match by the Avalanche, and all on a game day. Seems like as good a place as any for me to comment on the O’Reilly thing. Sitting 30% disappointed and 70% relieved. It was a bold move and it makes sense positionally, I’ve heard O’Reilly mentioned over and over again as a great young peice to build around, and he’s a center. But man the luck this franchise has had over the past few years you just know he’d take a month to get back to game speed and the Flames would be sitting 28th when the season ended. Too scary. Would rather get a high draft pick in a short season. Like the moxy though. … Oh and love the target; the team that was happy to take Calgary’s captain on this same day many years ago, it was nice to see O’Reilly in the Flame’s sites instead of Fleury in theirs. … Great to see Baertschi hit the scoresheet tonight, easily his best game of the season, and he appears to be finding chemistry with the two Czech players (which is good for Baertschi and Cervenka who seems to have lost his way lately). The biggest problem with the young Swiss player is size and he loses most physical battles at this level including the Jones goal in the second period. But when he gets some some girth? Booom … I just don’t get this new powerplay set up that a lot of teams are using where a guy rushes the puck up the ice then dumps it backwards and stands straddling the blueline. Sure you avoid the first guy having to take the zone one on four, but man the other four guys just standing there flat footed looks odd. … Jay Feaster interviewed after the second period about coming up short on the O’Reilly saga “We’re not done. We want to continue to improve our hockey team, and we’re going to go about that here right away.” That should create some Calgarypuck conversation! He referred to O’Reilly as a franchise player which was interesting. I’m all for bold moves as long as they involve players like O’Reilly and not selling futures or young players for aging franchise players. If Daniel Alfredsson turns up in Calgary I’ll snap. … Chris Butler is quietly entrenching himself as the team’s fifth defenseman in case anyone hasn’t noticed. He’s played well. Babchuck is done, and it will be Smith and Sarich the rest of the way (mostly Smith). … The Flames have a serious mojo issue, they simply can’t regroup and push back. When the game is dictated by their battle plan without interruption they are fine, they look confident and skilled. But should that plan meet any kind of salvo from the opposition they seem to be without answers. … Anyone else sick of that commercial with the vampires bumping into hockey players? … Interesting to see the faith in T.J. Brodie by Bob Hartley given the young defender has gone from +6 to -2 on the season in what seems like a week. His partner Wideman is struggling as well, and Brodie will be fine, but he’s gone from the Flame’s biggest story to hurting.
The Flames return home after the two game road trip to play the Canucks on Saddledome ice. Game time 5.30pm on Sportsnet
Glencross – Cammalleri – Stempniak
Tanguay – Stajan – Iginla
Baertschi – Hudler – Cervenka
Hudler – Begin – Aliu
Giordano – Bouwmeester
Brodie – Wideman
Butler – Smith